MS Excel Chapter 7: Math, Equations, and Formulas

I am trying to use a lot of Math, Equations, and Formulas in my course work. How do I make it accessible for all users.


Most formulas and math equations come as floating objects. Such objects cannot be read by a screen reader and are therefore, inaccessible. To avoid inaccessible content being sent, we must find a more accessible solution for how to write our formulas.

Inaccessible Math Formula Area of a circle equals pi times r squared. Equation covers multiple cells.

This equation is a floating object and spreads out over multiple cells. This is inaccessible, and overall does not look presentable.

Section 7.1: How to make a Floating Object with an Alt Text

  1. Type of formula in Cell A1. Only use regular text and no symbols.

    Area of a circle equals pi r squared now has a text version.
  2. Now change the Font Color to white to match the background.

Change Color Button in Excel.

3. Resize cell A1 and fit your formula inside it. Now you have a formula with a text alternative.

You can use this method for many formulas, including expressions.

The formulas are typed in one cell and interferes with the cell next to it. This is would be very hard for a person using a screen reader to understand.

Section 7.2: Math Equations without Floating Objects

The best way to create an equation that is accessible is to type out the whole equation without symbols.

Section 7.3: Excel Functions

Most Excel functions are accessible for readers, and can be read by both JAWS and NVDA. However, the software will only read the formula character by character. This process can take a long time to complete and can be very time consuming for the students. To avoid this issue, put a text name and abbreviation of the formula directly above the cell that contains the value output.